The Beech Gardeners visited Houghton Lodge Gardens at Stockbridge on Wednesday afternoon of 6th July 2016.
We were greeted by the owner who told us a potted history of the house – built in 1793 and thought to be designed by John Plaw, a disciple of Nash, who built the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. The house is grade II listed and was designed to be a rural retreat and possibly a fishing lodge, overlooking the River Test. It is one of the few early and unaltered examples of a Gothic “Cottage Orne.” The Busk family has lived there for more than a century.
We started our wanderings in the walled garden where there was a magnificent rose-arched walk, the last of the peonies, fan-trained fruit trees, a giant espaliered pear tree up against the south wall and a most colourful wild flower bed imaginable – mostly Achillea. We meandered out of the walled garden to the gentle slope than ran down to the river.
There was a little group of Alpacas – Tom, Dick, Harry and Herbert in the meadows beside the river, which was flowing very fast due to the very wet summer we have had so far. From the river we wandered past the magnificent herbaceous border to the Peacock Topiary Garden where the imaginative sculptures of the box hedging were to be seen. This led through to the amazing grassy slope below the house with wonderful views over the riverside meadows.
On returning to the walled garden there was the orchid house to see (rather speedily as it was hot and damp), and the grape vine house which has a really heavy crop, and the orangery where there was an art gallery. Some of the BGs had there cream tea in there, while the remainder of our group of 14 had theirs outside.
Thanks to Sue Robinson for a selection of your photos above. Below is a gallery of more photographs.
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